Seattle Children’s has launched a $1 billion initiative, It Starts With Yes: The Campaign for Seattle Children’s, with a bold vision: to transform children’s health. It Starts With Yes is the largest campaign in Seattle Children’s 110-year history.
When Seattle Children’s opened its doors in 1907, the founders had a clear mission for the hospital – to care for every child, regardless of their ability to pay. Seattle Children’s is calling on the community to help continue and build upon that same enduring goal, allowing the hospital to continue to provide more than $120 million a year in financial assistance for families in need; expand necessary healthcare and research facilities; and invest in clinical programs to advance children’s healthcare.
“Kids need us now more than ever,” said Dr. Jeff Sperring, Seattle Children’s chief executive officer. “Together, we can envision a day where we can say yes to hope, care and cure for every child. Until that day comes, our work is not done. We need to go big.”
Seattle Children’s growth has been significant, but it’s still not enough to meet the growing needs of children in the region. Last year, Seattle Children’s many sites of care had more than 420,000 patient visits. That’s nearly double what it was 10 years ago. To help meet the increasing demand, Seattle Children’s main campus will expand in the fall of 2018 with the addition of Building Care, which will add 300,000 square feet to the hospital.
It Starts With Yes will also help transform care for children around the world by investing in research that will move the needle on lifesaving treatments and cures for childhood diseases. With Seattle Children’s Research Institute as one of the nation’s top five pediatric research centers, nearly 50 percent of Seattle Children’s $1 billion initiative will go to fund research.
In addition to advancing Seattle Children’s core mission, It Starts With Yes will deliver on the promise and power of immunotherapy, help unlock the mysteries of the childhood brain, and launch a new era for community health and wellness.
Philanthropy has already fueled rapid advances for T-cell immunotherapy. Early clinical trials for patients with acute lymphoblastic leukemia (ALL), who were not responding to standard therapies, have shown promising results with 93 percent of children achieving complete initial remission. Seattle Children’s researchers are still in the early stages of fully harnessing the potential of T cells to achieve long-term cures.
In order to expand Seattle Children’s T-cell immunotherapy research capabilities, a portion of the campaign will help fund Building Cure, a 540,000 square foot research facility in the heart of downtown Seattle. Building Cure will accelerate research for dozens of childhood diseases for which immunotherapy holds great promise, including cancer, diabetes, sickle cell anemia and HIV. The new facility will also expand Seattle Children’s ability to manufacture cell therapy products, such as T cells for cancer immunotherapy, so more children can be helped each year – 1,000 versus 150 currently. The Cure Factory, a state-of-the-art manufacturing center will be the largest manufacturing center of cell therapy products in the country.
“Seattle Children’s is on the path to revolutionize the treatment of devastating childhood diseases, like cancer, with advancements like T-cell immunotherapy. It’s amazing that with the support and power of the community behind us, we may see a future where more cures are a reality,” said Jean Enersen, It Starts With Yes campaign co-chair. Enersen and four other campaign co-chairs, Dean Allen, Dan Levitan, Molly Nordstrom and Scott Redman, oversee a campaign leadership team of more than 35 individuals throughout the region who represent the community.
It Starts With Yes will also enable Seattle Children’s clinicians and researchers to better treat children with neurological conditions through personalized approaches that will target the underlying cause of conditions like epilepsy, autism and brain tumors.
Additionally, the campaign will find new and innovative ways to keep more children healthy and out of the hospital. One of those ways will be to build a new Odessa Brown Children’s Clinic (OBCC). Located in the Central District, OBCC provides medical, dental and mental health services to nearly 40,000 patients a year – especially families in low-income communities. OBCC’s model for care is unique and addresses the social, economic and environmental roots of illness. The rising cost of housing in Seattle’s urban core has caused many families to move to South Seattle and South King County. For this reason, Seattle Children’s will build a new, larger OBCC in a location better positioned to provide care to children in need.
To remain at the forefront of providing equitable healthcare, Seattle Children’s will create partnerships that will expand services at the new location in areas such as food security, foster care, vocational services, housing and transportation. This one-of-a-kind health innovation hub will bring clinicians, researchers and families together to counteract the greatest challenges to children’s health.
“For 110 years, Seattle Children’s has provided care to every child in need because of the support of our community,” said Nancy Senseney, chair of Seattle Children’s Board of Trustees. “Anna Clise, my great grandmother, started this hospital by asking her friends to each donate $20. Our community continues to donate today so we can keep saying yes to kids. I’m proud to be a part of a campaign that says yes to kids, and will truly transform the future of children’s health.”
It Starts With Yes is comprehensive in its scope and contributions will come through individual donations, corporate partners, events and legacy gifts.
For more information about It Starts With Yes, or to join the community that will transform the future of children’s health, visit seattlechildrens.org/yes.